Thursday, August 4, 2011

august 4: A big story makes page 1 ; another Moncton miracle!

We all know the Bono conert made milli0ns. Sow many of those millions are showing up in your bamk account?

One of othe striking features of the craze for concerts and the breathless reporting of them is that we never get any accounting of precisely what the profits are, and who gets them. Haiti makes tremendous profits our of the production of Levis, Fruit of the Loom, and tropical fruits. But at wages of three dollars a day, not much of that money finds its way into Haitian pockets. Money pours into Iraq from oil sales. But very little of it stays in Iraq, and even less finds its way into the pockets of Iraqis. In the case of Moncton, reports suggest that the average city residents got less out of the concerts than they had paid in taxes to set them up.

The front page story, "Moncton cashes in on big concerts", looks like just another over-excited free ad. But it does raise some questions. How much money stays in Moncton? Hotels do well out of it - at the owndership level.  But how about the rest of us, the ones who paid for it? And where do the hotel owners spend their profits?

Gee. It sounds to me as though this is the sort of thing an assignment editor should jump at/ But don't hold yhour breath.

There's nothing else in section A - unless you're a really big fan of major league shuffleboard. Fracking didn't make it, of course. But be patient. It can take a newspaper some time to find a professor whose ethical standards are low enough to let him say nice things about fracking and shale gas.

The editorial is depressing for its display of ignorance. It's in praise of the 'visionaires" who brought us the concerts - and it susggests that a city should be run like a business. As a matter of fact, it shouldn't.

The purpose of a business is to make money. The purpose of a city government is to serve its people. The two are not the same.

There is also a cartoon of the concert stage towering over the city, dumping tons of money on it. (Better get your rake out and check the lawn.)

In NewsToday, rhere is no mention of Libya where we are busy killing people for no clear reason.  Nor is there even a hint that Israel is torn by mass protests against the government and, particularly, against Netanyahu. Of course, they also haven't reported a whole lot on Saudi military assistance to the Emir of Bahrain as the people of Bahrain rebel against him. I guess it all depends on who is rebelling - and against who.

Now - a confession. I am not an admirer of Quebec nationalism. I lived almost all my life in the bigotry and discrimination that is still Quebec. I ifought against it for years. In the end, I saw it destroy the community I had grown up in. I  have no desire ever too see Quebec again.

I blame the nationalists for that. I also blame the Quebec Liberals at least as much, all federal parties, and all Canadians for letting it happen. I have no anti-French feeling out of this. I do have a pretty strong anti-bigotry feeling. But in NB it's usually English bigots who bother me.(and a very few Acadiens who have taken Quebec as their model.)

Remembering all that, read Alec Buce's superb column on Nycole Turmel, the NDP leader who is revealed to have been a member of a separatist party. Any person in the Quebec of the 1960s to the 1990s who was seriously interested to social reform could well be drawn to the PQ or the Bloc for lack of any altenative.

So Turmel has changed her mind about Quebec nationalism. Well, she's not the only one whose mind has changed. I would far rather have a Turmel who can change her mind than a Harper who can't. This affair was clumsily handled, certainly. But it in no way makes her ineligible to lead a federalist party.

Indeed, if anyone breaks up Canada, it is far more likely to be Staphen Harper - just as it was the Liberal Bourassa who who was so largely responsible for  destroy the English community of Quebec.


  1. graeme i apprciate very much your analysis of the breakdown of quebec english. i can tell you that in my recent, surely narrow, experience the french are not aware in the least of the english plight. to some extent this is a rural/urban effect. the recent infrastructure problems is not helping the city not the english in any way. and these probs don't look to be going away any time soon.

  2. won't believe this...BUT...try to find an item in your favorite MOncton "newspaper" about the stock markets going through the floor on Thursday. Talk about the dumbing dowm, etc etc etc

  3. It is important for both French and English to avoid taking the Quebec route in dealing with lanugage. Quite apart from the bitterness and hatreds that would generate, the reality is that, unlike Quebec, neither side in New Brunswick could possibly win such a confrontation. In New Brunswick each side has to think of the grievances and needs of the other side as well as of its own.
    French Quebec has done itself enormous damage even in winning its confrontation. (Indeed, I suspect the only winner were the old, French economic elite - thus the movement against that elite reflected in the DDP vote.) Those who have money and power use such quarrels to benefit themselves.
    Discuss the issue by all means. But be sure to discuss with the other group, not just with your own.

  4. sorry for the sloppy spelling above. I can't find a way to edit it.